WillowRidge Community Greenbelt Restoration's Journal

Journal archives for March 2021

March 12, 2021

2021 Spring planting begins!

March 11, 2021. The first shipment of seedlings for the 2021 season arrived yesterday from the Missouri Department of Conservation. We had a good shower last night after several dry weeks. More rain is projected for the coming days so I took advantage of the gorgeous afternoon to plant with neighbor and COVID walking buddy Pam Barry. The shipment included 10 Bur oak, 10 White oak and 10 Ohio buckeye. The oaks were planted in the center of the Greenbelt -an open and wet area that I have tried without success to establish a tree stand. Last years stock of white, swamp white and texana oaks planted in the same area were ravaged by deer over the winter. The black cherry faired better but still took substantial casualties. I'm giving these oaks more protection for one last effort before giving up. I was happy to see the elderberry and false indigo planted last year leafing out - good to see that something will grow there. Seven of the buckeye were placed at the east end along the walking path and three at the west. All of the plantings were flagged - Burr with yellow, white with orange, and buckeye with orange. Some of the oaks were caged in hobby wire. I will work to wrap the others over the coming days. Hopefully this will give them a fighting chance!

I was thrilled to find the golden currant planted last spring leafing out! Very exciting since I was sure they were dead. Life finds a way!

Update: After reading more about the Ohio buckeye, I went back the next evening to replant the seedlings on the interior of the greenbelt along the stream where they would have more shade and water. That location also reduced my anxiety about elderly neighbors twisting their ankles or dogs choking on poison nuts!

Posted on March 12, 2021 12:19 AM by ann223 ann223 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 20, 2021

Second shipment planted!

March 19th, 2021. It was another lovely Kansas day - the last day of a very long COVID winter. I took the afternoon off to plant the latest shipment of seedlings from Missouri Department of Conservation [10 Northern Red Oak, 10 Chinkapin oak and 10 Ninebark shrubs (Physocarpus opulifolius)]. Since I purchased the shipment out of my own pocket, I planted the first red oak seedling in my own yard to replace the Bradford pear that I removed last fall. The rest replenished the 2020 plantings foraged by deer in the center of the path near the American plum thicket (Prunus Americana). Eight of the Chinkapin oak were planted along the path just east of that and two were given to Pam Barry for her back yard on the north side of the greenbelt. Five of the ninebark were planted on the east end of the Greenbelt flanking the stream on both sides of the path. I was forced to wrangle some residual honeysuckle I missed last fall to clear the area. Three were planted on the west end - one in my yard. I offered another to neighbor, Mike Irwin (former HOA President), who provided some plastic guards to secure the new seedlings from additional foraging. The last went to Pam's yard to help enhance the north side of the natural area. A quick inventory revealed budding Chokecherry, elderberry and wild currant. The black cherry planted in the center of the greenbelt survived in spite of foraging and shows great promise for the spring growth.

I'm looking forward to beginning my inventory of progress in the coming season!

Posted on March 20, 2021 12:24 AM by ann223 ann223 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 29, 2021

Another busy weekend

March 29, 2021. Spring is hitting its stride in eastern Kansas. Saturday was gloomy and cool but Sunday was gorgeous! All of the seedlings are well-watered after a week of beneficial rain. I spent the weekend in the Greenbelt installing some garden fencing and planting the third round of seedlings from the Missouri Department of Conservation. This batch included 10 more Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra), 10 Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) seedlings and 10 cottonwood cuttings. These were mainly planted along the central walking path behind the thicket of plums. The buckeye were planted inside the wooded area along the creek - far enough away from the path to provide shade, water access and keep errant seed off the public thoroughfare. The redbud were planted closer to the path with a few extra planted on the west end. The last round of cottonwood seemed to be shaded out in the creek so I planted these on the north side near a little clearing hoping the light will save them. I think this will be my last go with cottonwood since this habitat just isn't right for them.

It is exciting to see the landscape come to life again but the bright green patches of honeysuckle within mock me from their roost. Just wait until fall! Grrr. Some young errant shrubs pulled up easily in the soft ground, but planting was the goal at this point in the season. I did some clearing and shaping of the public areas for esthetics. Fencing was placed as a cue to the landscaping company to protect emerging seedlings from over-zealous mowers. And emerging they are! The wild plum has done fabulously with most of the 25 planted seedlings leafing out - even those subject to grazing. The Prunus species all did well - all five of the planted Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) are leafing out and it appears that as many as eight of the ten Black cherry (Prunus serotina) trees are leafing out! In light of this success, I have ordered 10 more Black cherry seedlings set to arrive this week. These will be planted in the same central area to the west of the first batch.

I was also delighted to find one of my early plantings of elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) from 2 years ago thriving. It was planted on the east end of the central zone and will add stunning color to the early summer display in that area. I added some cuttings from a broken branch of another elderberry plant that I came across as I was checking the central area. Elderberry is another species that is thriving in this planting. I am working to track down the Roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii) that exists naturally in the zone so that I can protect and nurture new growth and hopefully provide nutritious berries for migrating birds.

I will enjoy documenting my progress on this platform. Cheers!

10 Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra)
10 Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis)
10 Cottonwood cuttings (Populus sect. aigeiros)
Source: Missouri Department of Conservation

Posted on March 29, 2021 01:25 PM by ann223 ann223 | 0 comments | Leave a comment